The NFL’s playoff television ratings have plunged since last year, and television executives are trying to figure out what to do about advertising for a Super Bowl whose viewership may be a significant drop from last year.
As Bloomberg writes, “This year’s NFL playoffs haven’t made easy watching for the big media owners of sports television rights. Last weekend’s divisional games followed the same dismal pattern as the season, with viewership declines across the board — some of them pretty spectacular.”
The statistics tell the story of the NFL’s fall from grace after a flurry of players knelt during the national anthem this year.
25 million people watched the NFL playoffs last year; that number has plunged to 20 million this year. On NBC, the Falcons-Eagles game drew 6% less viewership than last year’s Falcons-Seahawks game; on CBS, the Titans-Patriots game this year drew 10% less viewership than last year’s Texans-Patriots game; another CBS game, Jaguars vs. Steelers, drew 15% less than last year’s Chiefs-Steelers game, and Fox’s Saints-Vikings game drew a whopping 27% less viewership than last year’s Cowboys-Packers game.
Last year, regular season games drew 15 million viewers; this year the regular season viewership plunged to 10 million. CBS Sunday national football was down 8%; CBS Thursday football down 4%; CBS Sunday regional down 14%; NBC Sunday Night football down 9%; NBC Thursday night down 21%; Fox Sunday national down 10% while its regional games were down 8%, and ESPN Monday Night Football was down 5%.
In total, viewership during the regular season was down 11% from last year.